Empty tour bus rolls down embankment in Banff park, killing woman and injuring man
Everyone was off the bus and people were taking pictures by the river
An empty tour bus rolled down an embankment from a viewpoint in Banff National Park, killing one person and critically injuring another while they were taking pictures, RCMP say.
A 53-year-old woman died at the scene and a 55-year-old man was critically injured. Both are from Ontario. The man and woman were standing in front of the bus when it rolled over the embankment and struck them, RCMP said.
The small bus had stopped at Castle Mountain Lookout, along the Trans-Canada Highway between Lake Louise and Banff, on Wednesday morning. Around 20 people, including the driver, got off the bus.
"No one was on the bus at the time. The bus rolled forward on its own and the two victims were standing in front of the bus, apparently taking photographs of the scenery," said RCMP Cpl. Chris Blandford.
"The bus was found in the river. The victims were found on the shore immediately next to the bus."
The victims have not yet been publicly identified, nor has the bus tour operator. Photos from the scene show a small, dark bus with a Hainan Airlines logo partially submerged in the Bow River.
The injured man was first taken to the Banff Warden's Office, then transported by STARS air ambulance to a Calgary hospital.
STARS air ambulance, EMS and Parks Search and Rescue were called to the lookout around 9:55 a.m. local time, according to Rayne Kuntz, of Covenant Health, which operates the hospital in Banff.
Several tow trucks arrived to attempt to remove the bus from the river.
The investigation is continuing, Blandford said.
"At this point, we don't know why it moved forward. But we will speaking to the driver and witnesses and inspecting the bus."
While the vehicle carried the logo of Hainan Airlines, the China-based airline issued a statement Wednesday explaining that the bus is independently owned and operated by another company.
"Hainan Airlines is deeply saddened by the tragic bus accident near Calgary today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected."
Hainan said the bus wasn't serving the company's customers or staff when it rolled down the embankment.
The company said it will work with authorities to support the investigation.
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